Panto’s back with a bang in Enniskillen

PANTO is back – oh yes it is!
After a two-year absence as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the popular and highly-anticipated pantomime by the Lakeland Players is set to return to the Ardhowen Theatre.
Earlier this week, the Fermanagh drama group kicked off the first of 12 shows, with this year’s play featuring around the tales of the children’s mythical character, Mother Goose.
This show is directed by Stephen Kettyles, and the Enniskillen man is excited that the pantomime is returning to the Ardhowen Theatre.
“The public have been looking forward to it,” explains Stephen, “for the past two years, we were inundated with people wondering when the pantomime was going to be coming back, so we’re delighted that it’s finally here.”
Kettyles has been directing the Lakeland Players pantomime since 1994 and this is his 29th year at the helm.
He admits that the preparation work is demanding for all involved.
“It is [challenging]. Your focus should be what happens on stage and your job is to look after that, but you end up looking after off stage as well,” he explains.
“I’m well used to spending January in the Ardhowen.”
The last pantomime, which took place in 2020, was ‘Snow White’. The play was a bit hit with the Fermanagh public and ‘Mother Goose’ is expected to follow suit.
“Mother Goose, as a play, has everything,” explained the director, “there is lots of singing, plenty of dancing, comedy, spectacular sets, loads of special effects, colourful costumes and fun for all the family.
“The play will certainly brighten up the dark January months.”
Around 70 people, between adults and children, are involved with the the Lakeland Players’ ‘Mother Goose’ production.
“The whole team has been excellent,” said the St Michael’s College staff member, “we have 50 people on stage and then another 20 backstage, sorting scenery, sets, music, and even some making sandwiches.”
Four of the longest-serving members of the Lakeland Players group are playing leading roles in the pantomime.
“Mark [Allen] is playing Mother Goose herself and Barry [Gibson] is Billy Goose, the comedian sidekick of Mother Goose,” explained director Stephen.
“Julian [Fowler] is playing a character called The Demon King and Catherine [Bradley] plays Gretchen Van-Driver.”

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